This Tuesday's Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup clash at Dick's Sporting Goods Park, involving the Colorado Rapids and Atlanta Silverbacks, will be a first meeting of the two clubs, with the winner guaranteed a home tie in the quarterfinals.
The Rapids, in the midst of a MLS break, were in action last Tuesday (June 17), romping to a 5-2 home victory over Orlando City in round four of the Open Cup. A number of notable players also tested their sharpness in a match for the Reserves, at Sacramento, last Friday.
For the Silverbacks, their North American Soccer League (NASL) Spring Season ended on June 7 with a disappointing 3-3 tie at home to newcomers Indy Eleven, the side which finished bottom of the 10-team standings.
Atlanta, who were eighth in the NASL, have since faced - and defeated - Real Salt Lake in the Open Cup. The side, with former US international Eric Wynalda as technical director, came from behind to beat RSL 2-1 at home. That most recent match for the Georgia club was on June 14.
Expect them to come into the match, therefore, fresh and raring to go, keen to topple a MLS team for a second game in a row. They do have players with MLS experience, among them former LA Galaxy defender Mike Randolph, striker Junior Burgos (Toronto FC) and midfielder Blair Gavin (Chivas USA, New England Revolution).
The Silverbacks entered this year's US Open Cup at the third round stage, at which point they cruised past Chattanooga FC 5-0, before toppling RSL in dramatic fashion. Ghanaian midfielder Kwadwo Poku settled that tie with a 90th minute winner.
One-to-watch on Tuesday will be Jaime Chavez, who is joint-leading scorer in the NASL with five, which is almost half of the total league goals netted by the Silverbacks (12) from their nine games played.
Wily Wynalda will have his players as prepared as they can be, for what they themselves have admitted is one of the toughest places to play in MLS. The altitude of Commerce City caught out Orlando last week. The USL Pro team flew out of the blocks, but visibly tired and were easily picked off by the Rapids. Wynalda will not want his side to make the same mistake.
The winners have a quarterfinal home meeting with either Chicago Fire or Columbus Crew, on a date to be determined. The Fire face the Crew on Wednesday.
Tickets for Tuesday's match are available now, with special rates for Rapids season and partial ticket plan holders. The west side of Dick’s Sporting Goods Park will be open for the match, with entrance to the stadium through Gate G and through Eighteen76.
General admission seating in Sections 128/129 is available for $20 for adults and $15 for children, and in Sections 126/127 and 130/131 for $15 adults/$10 children. Rapids Season Ticket Holders, partial plan holders, and groups of 10 or more will also receive a discount of up to 50% on all tickets. Fans can purchase tickets by clicking here or by calling 303-825-GOAL.
Following Tuesday's tussle, the Rapids return to MLS duty on Saturday, when the Vancouver Whitecaps visit Dick's Sporting Goods Park, kick-off 7 p.m MT (TICKETS). The Silverbacks begin their Fall Season with a trip to Tampa Bay Rowdies on July 12.